Timeline of significant events in 3D printing


•1984-Chuck Hull Invented the 1st method of 3d printing (stereolithography)

•1992-3D Systems produced the 1st SLA machine

•2005-DR Adrian Bowyer founds Rep Rap (opensource collaboration-self replicating printers)

•2006-The first SLS (selective laser sintering) machine becomes viable enabling “mass customization”

•2008 Shapeways launches co-creation service and community

•2009- Makerbot starts selling DIY 3D printing kits (FDM patent expires)

•2009-Organovo uses 3d bioprinter to create blood vessels

•2012- 3d printed prosthetic jaw is successfully implanted


3D Printing Stocks – Is the Worst Over for DDD, SSYS and others?

After a red hot 2013, 3D printing stocks have had a rough go of it as of late. 3D Systems, Voxeljet and Stratasys are all down significantly in 2014 as investors have started to wonder whether the reality lives up to the hype in this fast-moving sector.

So is the 3D printing revolution as dramatic as advertised, or has this red-hot market overheated, leaving investors who overstayed their welcome with no other recourse than to sell now at depressed valuations?


3D Printing: What a 3D Printer Is and How It Works

Charles Hull invented the first commercial 3D printer and offered it for sale through his company 3D Systems in 1986. Hull’s machine used stereolithography, a technique that relies upon a laser to solidify an ultraviolet-sensitive polymer material wherever the ultraviolet laser touches.

The technology remained relatively unknown to the greater public until the second decade of the 21st century. A combination of U.S. government funding and commercial startups has created a new wave of unprecedented popularity around the idea of 3D printing since that time.

First, President Barack Obama’s administration awarded $30 million to create the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in 2012 as a way of helping to revitalize U.S. manufacturing. NAMII acts as an umbrella organization for a network of universities and companies that aims to refine 3D printing technology for rapid deployment in the manufacturing sector.

Second, a new wave of startups has made the idea of 3D printing popular within the so-called “Maker” movement that emphasizes do-it-yourself projects. Many of those companies offer 3D printing services or sell relatively cheap 3D printers that can cost just hundreds rather than thousands of dollars.